Behind the Frames: Student Works from the UCF School of Visual Arts and Design

Behind the Frames presents artwork from students in the Character Animation Track BFA and Animation and Visual Effects Track MFA

The works presented are seldom exhibited preproduction and production images created for the development of graduate and undergraduate animated films produced at the University of Central Florida’s School of Visual Arts and Design. Displayed here are character design sheets, production stills, background paintings and concept sketches from recently released and current projects.

Behind the Frames will be on display in Orlando Science Center's Fusion: A STEAM Gallery on Level 3 from August 28 through November 14, 2021.

Behind the Frames Exhibit Q&A Completed By UCF Lecturer of Animation Jo Anne Adams

What inspired you to curate the pieces in this exhibition?

As a faculty member, I am deeply inspired by the talent our students display and their passion for their medium. Few people understand the scope of artistic development necessary for creation of an animated production. This exhibit offers an opportunity for appreciation of the artistic and technical layers involved in the production process.

What do you hope guests will take away from this exhibition?

I hope to inspire young artists to pursue a discipline that satisfies both the creative and technical problem-solving passions found in the animation field.

How is STEAM (Science, Technology, Art, Engineering, and Math) relevant to this exhibition?

Animation utilizes a broad array of artistic and technical skills. Storytelling requires deep research into literature, history, environments and culture. In development of imagery design theory, film theory and editing theory are all utilized. In order to execute their films, advanced imaging software packages such as Maya, Houdini, Renderman, and Nuke are mastered.

The production process requires not only designers and colorists but coders and rigging artists. Effects artists must study and reinterpret the physics of our world into the worlds they create. Integration with ambient sound, foley and musical scores is achieved through coordination with composers and sound artists. This discipline is attractive to a very particular kind of artist who enjoys being a part of a studio collective.

Behind The Frames artwork by UCF Student , Christina Christie
Hannah Huffman student artwork for Behind the Frames exhibition

Featured Artists: Indianna Alvarez- Sanchez, Erin Bergin, Clinnie Brinson, Isobel Cassidy, James Chambless, Christina Christie, Jamie Dean, Kirstin Hardin, Hannah Huffman, Hannah Jurgens, Clara Kopitnik, Jamie Lachnicht, Nathaniel Shrage,  and Damian Thorn-Hauswirth


The University of Central Florida (UCF) is quickly becoming a prominent institution in the animation field. Both the Character Animation BFA and Animation and Visual Effects MFA tracks allow students to integrate multiple domains of art, storytelling and technology into their body of work. The faculty strives to provide a solid foundation in techniques and theory; a broad understanding of related disciplines including arts, humanities, and technology, and extended experience in working in multidisciplinary teams on realistic problems.

UCF is currently ranked second in the nation on the 2021 list of Top Forty Public Animation Schools and Colleges in the U.S. by Animation Career Review. Their undergraduate program has a strong history of producing award-winning productions and MFA students have presented their research at the annual Society of Animation Studies conference since the MFA’s foundation. Graduates have moved on to work for prestigious film, television, simulation and gaming companies. Alumni have successfully pursued careers such as animators, story artists, visual development artists, lighting artists, technical artists, effects artists, modelers, riggers, or texture artists. The college's faculty and students are dedicated to furthering the art of visual storytelling and further pushing the quality and skill associated with the UCF School of Visual Arts and Design.

Seeing Sound and Painting Music

Art Gallery on Display at Orlando Science Center through October 22

Until recently, musician Christina Eve didn’t know she experienced the world differently. Born with Synesthesia, a rare neurological anomaly, Christina is able to see shapes and colors when she hears sound. To her it’s completely normal but for most of us it’s hard to imagine. That’s why Orlando Science Center is thrilled to host her artwork this fall in FUSION: A STEAM Gallery through October 22, 2019.  


Inherently attracted to music at a very young age, Christina pursued music her entire life. She began to paint what she saw in the hope that she could share the beauty of sound that so many of us cannot visualize. This provides rare insight into how the senses interact in the brain, to form our perception of the world around us.


We connected with Christina to discuss her synesthesia and artwork.


What synesthesia is and what kind you have?

Synesthesia is neurological condition, where two or more of the five senses (smell, sight, taste, sound, and touch) are linked. For me specifically, I have Chromesthesia so when I hear sound, I see colors and shapes. But specifically when I hear music, that’s when I see the most stunning colors and shapes, or photisms.


How old were you when you discovered your synesthesia?

I was 23 and a lot of us are older when we figure it out. Synesthetes are born with it, so it’s our reality. It made me really sad in college when I talked to my classmates in my music classes about a piece we’d be working on and I thought “wow, you don’t see this?”


Were you just able to pick up painting?
I never felt like my synesthesia had to be portrayed until I found out other people couldn’t see what I saw. I was so heartbroken that I decided to start painting to show people the stunning images that I see. But I see myself as a musician, I really don’t identify as a [visual] artist. When I first started, I had no artistic training and only did one or two paintings. Then my life got turned upside down a couple years ago, so I started doing painting therapeutically. I would put on music and paint what I saw and people started telling me this is beautiful.

I DON'T WANT TO DISAPPOINT YOU depicting the music of Thom Yorke
I DON'T WANT TO DISAPPOINT YOU depicting the music of Thom Yorke
NOR EARTH, NOR BOUNDLESS SEA depicting the music of Max Richter
NOR EARTH, NOR BOUNDLESS SEA depicting the music of Max Richter

Could you tell us about your upcoming gallery at OSC?
Pretty much everything I’ve ever done is going up. I will have the title of song I listened to for each painting. I’ll also have some newer pieces up that I call “Sleep,” it’s from composer Max Richter, who worked with a neuroscientist to write an eight-hour composition meant for the different stages and brain functions of sleep. When I listen to this I fall asleep to it and I try to capture the images when I’m in the hypnogogic state. This is the first time I’ve painted stuff for when I’m half-asleep.


What type of genres do you listen to when you paint?
I listen to a lot of different music, country music is yellow and brown so I stay away from that. A lot of classical, indie music, electronic music. I paint a lot of Radiohead and Bon Iver.


What is your process for creating your pieces? How do you find the music you want to paint?

As a synesthete, listening to music is always an extraordinary experience since my ears, eyes, heart, and mind are all inundated. If I hear a song that’s just very powerful and colorful I take it into my studio and I just start to paint on a canvas until it looks like what I’m seeing.


What do you want people to take away from your gallery?

When viewing my art, I hope you will be encouraged to seek out what is hidden from the eyes. Some of us may experience the world differently than most, but we all have ways to express and share beauty. As an artist, I’ve discovered that much of the synesthetic imagery I see can effectively communicate other invisible concepts, like joy or despair, or loneliness or hope. The mission of my work is to give voice to those experiences of humanity as a way to offer empathy and compassion, and to build community by sharing the hidden beauty I see.

Be sure to check out Christina's gallery, now on display at Orlando Science Center, through October 22!